Shame on Mr. Davis & Mr. Hastings! Mr. Davis calling the Teens from Gulfport Teen Council “Teens for Cancer” was way out of line. They simply suggested that there be an area for everyone at the beach, smokers & non-smokers alike. Not one of the teens promoted smoking. For the teens this was more an issue of people’s rights. Non-smokers have the right to a smoke free beach & smokers should have the right to a smoking area. His personal attack on the teens & their parents was completely unnecessary. Even more insulting than Mr. Davis’s comments was his drawing of cigarettes in the mouths of Elizabeth Brown-Worthington & Laura Karbowski on their pictures that appeared in last weeks Gabber. It is apparent that Mr. Davis is a very angry man.
As far as liberty being a weak argument, that is not true. Our country was founded on the belief that liberty was the right of all people. Liberty is defined as “The state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one's way of life.” If the teens feel this is an issue of the city infringing on people’s liberties they have the right to say so. Maybe they see this as a stepping stone for bigger things to come.
It is clear that Mr. Hastings does not listen when people who oppose his views speak. Nolan, Elizabeth, nor Laura said it was ok to be around secondhand smoke. They agreed that if you don’t smoke that you should not be subjected to it. Mr. Hasting telling the teens to go back and do more research on the effect of smoking & secondhand smoke was uncalled for. He made it seem as if the teens did not know what they were talking about. Anyone who has ever taken a 4th grade health class knows that smoking & secondhand smoke is unhealthy & dangerous. The teens did do research & did talk to other people to get their views on the ordinance. Mr. Hastings was quoting facts from the CDC, too bad it was the Center of Disease Control & not the Center for David Control. To twist the words of children for your own personal gain is a new low.
It was said that the teens were upset that they did not get their way. Not true, the teens were upset that they were personally attacked. One would think that rather than attacking the teens, people would be more appreciative that they care enough to be involved, even if they don’t agree with their views. The teens at last nights meeting are good kids who are very active in their community. They could be doing much worse than voicing their opinions.